One-day delay in filing NOT legal justification

Under Section 4, Rule 65 of the 1997 Rules of Civil Procedure, certiorari should be filed "not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the judgment, order or resolution" sought to be assailed. The provisions on reglementary periods are strictly applied, indispensable as they are to the prevention of needless delays, and are necessary to the orderly and speedy discharge of judicial business. The timeliness of filing a pleading is a jurisdictional caveat that even this Court cannot trifle with.[1]First. The fact that the delay in the filing of the petition for certiorari was only one day is not a legal justification for non-compliance with the rule requiring that it be filed not later than sixty (60) days from notice of the assailed judgment, order or resolution. The Court cannot subscribe to the theory that the ends of justice would be better sub served by allowing a petition for certiorari filed only one-day late. When the law fixes sixty (60) days, it cannot be taken to mean also sixty-one (61) days, as the Court had previously declared in this wise:
[W]hen the law fixes thirty days [or sixty days as in the present case], we cannot take it to mean also thirty-one days. If that deadline could be stretched to thirty-one days in one case, what would prevent its being further stretched to thirty-two days in another case, and so on, step by step, until the original line is forgotten or buried in the growing confusion resulting from the alterations? That is intolerable. We cannot fix a period with the solemnity of a statute and disregard it like a joke. If law is founded on reason, whim and fancy should play no part in its application.[2]

Second. While it is always in the power of the Court to suspend its own rules, or to except a particular case from its operation,[3] the liberality with which equity jurisdiction is exercised must always be anchored on the basic consideration that the same must be warranted by the circumstances obtaining in the case.[4] However, there is no showing herein of any exceptional circumstance that may rationalize a digression from the rule on timeliness of petitions.

[1] Labao v. Flores, G.R. No. 187984, November 15, 2010

[2] Trans International v. CA, 358 Phil. 369, 378 (1998), citing Velasco v. Ortiz, 263 Phil. 210, 219 (1990), further citing Reyes v. CA, 74 Phil. 235, 238 (1943).

[3] Mangahas v. CA, 588 Phil. 61, 82 (2008).

[4] Id. at 85.